A NEWSPAPER editor who published a widely condemned article about deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has refused to meet with the Commons speaker over the report.

Mail on Sunday chief David Dillon rejected a request from Sir Lindsay Hoyle after he told MPs on Monday he had arranged a meeting following an outcry over claims Rayner crossed and uncrossed her legs during Prime Minister’s Questions to distract Boris Johnson. The report likened her actions to those of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. 

In his response to the Speaker, published in the Daily Mail, Dillon said he would not be attending as journalists should “not take instruction from officials of the House of Commons, however august they may be”.

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In his letter, he wrote: “The Mail on Sunday deplores sexism and misogyny in all its forms. However journalists must be free to report what they are told by MPs about conversations which take place in the House of Commons, however unpalatable some may find them.”

He said that while The Mail on Sunday had “the greatest possible respect both for your office and for Parliament [which] along with a free press they are the foundation stones of British democracy”, the invitation would be declined.

Mail journalist Andrew Pierce said newspaper bosses had told the Speaker to "get stuffed" and claimed Rayner had previously joked about the Basic Instinct comparison.

He told GB News: “We put a report in the Mail today – she appeared on a podcast with Matt Ford in January, laughing and joking about the Sharon Stone comparison, offering up herself, crossing and crossing her legs, causing great laughter in the audience.

“Where was the outrage? The outrage was confected.”

He added: "It's not for the Speaker of the House of Commons to tell a newspaper or this TV station what they kind of can't broadcast or report. So, we said very politely – get stuffed, we're not going.”

Those claims were rubbished by Rayner. Responding to the latest Daily Mail report, she said it “implies today that I somehow enjoy being subjected to sexist slurs. I don’t. They are mortifying and deeply hurtful”.

Earlier, in a statement, Hoyle said he wanted to use the meeting to ask that “we are all a little kinder”, issuing a plea to reporters to consider the feelings of MPs and their families when covering stories in Parliament.

He made the point that he had only recently rejected calls to remove the parliamentary pass from another journalist after some MPs called for The Mail on Sunday’s political editor Glen Owen – who wrote the report about Rayner – to have his pass removed.

“I am a staunch believer and protector of press freedom, which is why when an MP asked me to remove the pass of a sketch writer last week for something he had written, I said ‘no’,” he said.

“I firmly believe in the duty of reporters to cover Parliament, but I would also make a plea – nothing more – for the feelings of all MPs and their families to be considered, and the impact on their safety, when articles are written. I would just ask that we are all a little kinder.

“That is what I wanted to talk about at tomorrow’s meeting.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson and Nadine Dorries panned for 'copy and paste' message to Angela Rayner

Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine programme on Tuesday, Rayner said she had appealed to the paper not to run the story, based on claims by an unnamed Tory MP.

“When I heard the story was coming out and we rebutted it instantly… like this is disgusting, it’s completely untrue, please don’t run a story like that,” she said.

“All I worry about when I’m at the despatch box is doing a good job and being able to do justice to my constituents and the work I’m doing, so I was just really crestfallen that somebody had said that to a paper and a paper was reporting that.”

Rayner has also called on the Prime Minister to give assurances he would take action against the MP who made the comment after vowing to unleash "the terrors of the earth" if they were identified.

"I hope to hear what he’ll be doing about it today," Rayner said ahead of PMQs.